Slovakia is ready to help people fleeing Ukraine due to the military conflict with Russia.
"We can expect that the Russian aggression will drive many people from Ukraine," said PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) after the February 24 session of the Security Council. He called on people in Slovakia to have compassion and understanding for those fleeing Ukraine because they deserve our help.
Currently, the Bureau of the Border and Foreign Police are monitoring the situation on the border with Ukraine. Slovakia has devised several plans of action based on the possible scenarios, said Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO).
The interior minister pointed out that under the current rules, Ukrainian citizens can enter Slovakia if they have valid documents and then move across Slovakia and the entire European Union for up to 90 days. In individual cases, people without a valid passport would be allowed to enter, the Interior Ministry added.
The police announced later in the day that they were letting Ukrainians fleeing their country cross the border to Slovakia.
The government held a special session at which it agreed that about 1,500 soldiers will be deployed to help control people entering Slovakia through the border, said Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO).
Mikulec added that if the inflow of people coming from Ukraine is higher, they can even create hotspots on the borders, where soldiers will help them as well. They are also ready to secure appropriate conditions for these refugees.
Slovakia is also ready to offer temporary shelter or asylum to those who ask for it.
Situation on the borders
The Interior Ministry meanwhile announced that all border crossings with Ukraine are currently open, apart from the railway border crossing in Čierna nad Tisou, where passenger transport was stopped.
The situation on the border is currently stable, said Mikulec.
The border police will try to do their best to eliminate potential tailbacks on the border crossings.
Trains and flights stopped
Meanwhile, the state-run passenger carrier ZSSK has suspended all trains travelling towards Ukraine until further notice.
"We have activated the crisis staff of ZSSK and are in contact with the Transport Ministry, discussing further steps and assistance for our neighbour, like the potential provision of evacuation trains for war refugees," said Roman Koreň, chair of the board of directors of ZSSK.
Due to Ukraine's closed air space, the Bratislava airport has temporarily suspended flights to Kyiv.
Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair cancelled its flights for at least the following 14 days, said the airport's spokesperson Zuzana Drobová, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
"At the same time, the company has removed flights to/from Ukraine for at least four weeks," she added. Passengers who have already purchased plane tickets will be informed about further steps via email.
Low-cost carrier Wizz Air has temporarily suspended its flights as well. It recommends passengers contact its call centre for more information.
Websites with more information for Ukrainians coming to Slovakia
- ua.gov.sk: provides more detailed information in Ukrainian about what awaits people directly at the border, and after their transition to Slovakia
- pomocpreukrajinu.sk: provides information in Slovak and Ukrainian about all available accommodation options
- ukraineslovakia.sk: provides information in Slovak, Ukrainian and English about border crossings, entry conditions, possibilities upon entry, accommodation options, and useful contacts
- www.mic.iom.sk: provides information in Slovak, English and Russian about entry conditions, possibilities upon entry, accommodation options and other useful contacts
- bratislavskykraj.sk/ukrajina: provides useful information and contacts for refugees in Slovak, English, German, Italian and Ukrainian about